The bad economy has more Missourians vacationing at home and enjoying what their own state has to offer, according to KOMU-TV, Columbia.
Jeremey Schamber, principal at Martin Luther School in Joplin, brought his wife, Kelli, and daughter, Olivia, with him on his business trip. They stayed at an RV park in Columbia for an alternative to more expensive hotels.
“Well, right now we’re on a conference, and it was just easier for us, and a little bit cheaper on the budget than staying in a hotel,” Schamber said.
They aren’t the only family taking advantage of Missouri’s affordable parks. “This place is full,” Schamber said of the RV park. “I’m seeing a lot more people than a couple of years ago when gas prices were so much higher.”
Larry Helms, the president of the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (MOARC) says he expects a 10-20% increase in the amount of visitors this year.
So while more tourists are coming to Missouri’s parks, RV sales are staying as steady as ever. “Running percentage-wise, it’s about the same as it has been in the last few years,” RV salesman Marion Imler said.
Jim Rau started US Rents It in 1961, and has been selling and renting RVs ever since. He says the bad economy has helped Missourians realize what the state has to offer.
“There’s lots and lots of campgrounds right here in the state of Missouri. People can have fun and not go that far,” Rau said.
The owner of Cottonwoods RV Park said he has seen an increase in all types of visitors in the last couple of years. “People stop to camp in everything from the smallest of tents to million-dollar rigs,” he said.
So while Missourians are still hitting the road, they’re staying inside state lines. The high season for family tourists coming to RV parks usually runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. But the Columbia RV park owner said the retired campers like to wait until after the families leave to enjoy the area.